Lessons from the Reformation
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1. THE REFORMATION RENOUNCED
In the City of Chicago, III., Dec. 5, 1912, an assembly of three hundred and nineteen clericaldelegates from thirty-one professedly Protestant denominations intentionally and expressly repudiatedthe word "Protestant."That is an occurrence that can never mean less than much every way. It will be found to meanmuch more, and in more ways, than was thought of by the three hundred and nineteen who did it. Andto the people of the United States it means the most of all.The assembly by which this meaningful thing was done, was the "Second Quadrennial Meetingof the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America." It was held in the Hotel La Salle,Chicago, Ill., Dec. 4-9, 1912, and was composed of three hundred and nineteen actually present and participating delegates.This "Federal Council" was then composed of thirty-one denominations, including all of themost prominent ones, having a total membership of "more than seventeen millions." It was originallyorganized by five hundred delegates from twenty denominations, who met for the purpose in CarnegieHall, New York City, Nov. 15-21, 1905.18In its original organization the "Federal Council of Churches" was expressly and distinctlyProtestant. In the call under which the convention met in New York City, the object of the proposedmeeting was distinctly stated to be "to secure an effective organization of the various Protestantcommunions of this country", and "to form a bond of union that will enable Protestantism to present asolid front," etc.And then, in only the second meeting of the Council as such, and without any issue or crisis todemand it, spontaneously and voluntarily this professedly Protestant organization repudiated the word"Protestant" that gave them an existence as a Federal Council, that gave them an existence asdenominations, and that gave them existence even as Christians! And this was done in the very first business session of the Council, and in dealing with the very first "Report" that was made to theCouncil: that is, at the first possible opportunity.The occasion for it was this: The "Executive Committee" presented its report. In that report thecommittee expressed the "earnest hope that the Second Federal Council will make yet more clear certain fundamental facts as to the churches of the country, through their federation." And the first of these was --"The fact of the substantial unity of the Christian and Protestant Churches of the nation."